Sudan denies tension with Eritrea amid troop deployment to border

Sudan on Friday said it deployed thousands of troops in Kassala State in eastern Sudan to confront human trafficking operations, denying tension with Eritrea, official SUNA news agency reported.

Thousands of soldiers of the Rapid Support Forces, an affiliate of the Sudanese army, recently arrived in Kassala State on Sudan’s border with Eritrea.

Kassala State Governor Adam Jamma said the troops came “within the framework of an emergency order and a Republican Decree relating to collection of arms and unlicensed vehicles, besides confronting human trafficking operations and smuggling of arms and commodities,” adding that “it has nothing to do with the border.”

The governor further denied reports earlier circulated by social media outlets about closure of border crossings between Sudan and Eritrea.

He said no directives were given either by the federal or state governments to close the border crossings with Eritrea, reiterating that the relationship with Asmara “is deeply-rooted and there is nothing to disturb it.”

He went on saying that “the relationship with the Eritrean security bodies and their leadership is continuing within the security framework and combating of negative phenomena.”

On Dec. 30, 2017, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir issued a Republican Decree declaring a state of emergency in North Kordofan State in western Sudan and Kassala State in eastern Sudan.

According to the decree, the state of emergency will last six months.